Rupis – the subadult Egyptian vulture which was captured and tagged in the Douro canyon in the framework of the project LIFE Rupis last July, and that has spent the winter in the National Park Boucle du Baoulé in western Mali – has arrived back home, after having flown more than 3800km in 15 days.
Rupis stayed all winter in Mali, and started its migration northwards on the 3rd April, By the 8th he had already crossed most of the Sahara desert through Mauritania, and on the 14th he reached Ceuta on the Mediterranean shores of Morocco – he then crossed the Gibraltar straits the following day and in two days reached the Douro area.
Rupis was captured close to Miranda do Douro in the upper Douro canyon, in late July last year, and then spent the best part of August and September commuting between the Douro canyon and a foraging area west of Salamanca. Then, on 20th September, Rupis started its migration south. It crossed the straits of Gibraltar on the 22nd September 2016, and entered the Sahara Desert southeast of Ouarzazate on the 24th on the way to Mali.
It will be interesting to see if it breeds this year. Rupis is already on its fourth calendar year, and should normally start breeding activities.
The data we get from its GPS unit will help us to find out more about the places Egyptian vulture forage or about their roosting sites.
You can follow the movements of Rupis and other Egyptian vultures here http://www.4vultures.org/our-work/monitoring/egyptian-vulture-online-maps/